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White Only

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

I headed out for my normal Saturday morning fishing expedition. I decided to go to a pond that I had not been at all year. Part of the reason is that it is half a mile off the road and all downhill to get to it. Coming back is the opposite. I got the canoe off the truck and on the little wheeled carrier that I have. I loaded the other stuff in and headed down.

When I got to the pond there were weeds and other junk around the edge and out about fifteen feet. It was a good thing that I brought the canoe in as fishing would be hard from the shore. I moved the canoe through all the stuff in the pond and got to the point where I could cast.

I cast and cast and did not get anything to hit. I tired fourteen different flies. I was zero for fourteen. The next thing I tied on was a White Cyperts Minnow. If nothing else this fly was bright and might be seen better. Any excuse when you aren't catching fish.

The fly hit the water and the line tightened. I set the hook and was into a crappie. This fish headed for the bottom and circled around the canoe. If it works once then try it again. Cast out to the same spot, and nothing happened. I started to retrieve the line and on the first pause I had another strike. Brought in a carbon-copy crappie.

I cast out again and nothing happened on this retrieve. I cast again and let the fly drop a little and then started to retrieve it. The first retrieved was a few short strips and then a pause. The other was a long slow strip with a pause. Both caused fish to bite. I found that I could catch several fish from each area if I varied the depth and the speed that I retrieved.

I spend the first hour and fifteen minutes figuring this out. Then I got that first fish and was on the way. I did find out that after I caught the fish around the canoe I would need to move about thirty feet and I could start again. I would catch fish and then need to move.

At about 8:00 a.m. another fisherman showed up. He was fishing from shore. He did have waders and a life vest but found out that getting out of the mud around the shore would be very difficult if, not impossible. He was not able to cast far enough out to get to the fish.

Once in a while I can be a nice guy. I invited him to get in the front of the canoe and fish with me. He accepted and I went up to the shore. I did suggest he take the wader off before he got in the canoe.

I had the paddle I was using and that was it so I was a little bit like a guide. I told him what I had been doing to catch fish. He was using tube jigs, but I had just met him so there had not been time to convert him.

My first cast when we got back out into the pond, I latched onto a large bass. I saw her jump one time and then she ran into the lily pad and broke me off. I did not have another white Cyperts Minnow with me. I did have an all white Marabout Miss and I tied that on.

We agreed that I would fish the right side of the canoe and he would fish the left side so that I was able to cast without snagging him. I continued to catch fish and he would get one every now and then. He did jokingly call me "a fish catching machine."

We fish for almost an hour when I told him that I would need to leave. He said that he would leave then also as he had no way to fish when I left. He did help me load the canoe and haul it out. It was much harder to get out than to get it in. I finally took the anchor and my fish basket to the fence and then came back to get the canoe.

When we had almost everything loaded, I asked him if he had enough fish for what he wanted to do? His reply was that they had some friends coming over for a fish fry, but they would not have a lot of fish. I opened my basket and dumped some into his bucket. He tried to object, by saying that I had caught them and I should take them. I told him that I could do what I wanted with the fish and that giving him a few means that I did not have to fillet as many.

He asked for my phone number and I gave it to him. I went home and unloaded all my junk and then got ready to filet fish. My wife then informed me that we were going to have to leave 30 minutes earlier to go see some friends than I had thought. That meant that I was going to have to do this with as much speed as possible.

I filleted the fish and then buried the guts in my garden. Turned the hose on and cleaned the board and washed the table off where I had cleaned the fish. I went inside and washed the fillets off and counted them.

I ended up with 75 crappie that I brought home. Just as I was finishing the man I fished with called me to tell me that he was halfway done with his fish. I had given him 18 and he had caught 11 himself. He wanted to let me now before we left. He asked how far along I was on the filleting of the fish. When I told him that they were being covered to go into the refrigerator, what he said is not for polite company.

He did say that he wants to go out again and try a fly rod. He also wants me to show him how to fillet fish. All in all it was a fun morning. I did get the fish taken care of, a shower taken and clothes on just it time to leave on the day trip.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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